News / Asia

Families Still Rebuilding 5 Years After Massive China Quake

Families Still Rebuilding 5 Years After Massive China Quakei
X
May 10, 2013 9:17 PM
Five years ago, China’s Wenchuan earthquake became one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters when it struck southern Sichuan province. The eight-point-zero quake killed nearly 90,000 people, toppled hundreds of thousands of buildings and permanently changed many families. VOA’s Bill Ide spoke with survivors in Sichuan to see how they have fared in the years since.
William Ide
Five years ago, China’s Wenchuan earthquake became one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters when it struck southern Sichuan province. The eight-point-zero quake killed nearly 90,000 people, toppled hundreds of thousands of buildings and permanently changed many families.
 
Ma Tang was just 12 years old when the Wenchuan earthquake robbed him of his father. He is 17 now, his mother has remarried and his young step-sister keeps him busy.


“After the earthquake my mom cried a lot and when she did, I would cry with her. At first, she didn’t want to remarry, but she also wanted to take good care of me. She was under a lot of pressure," he said. "So I was very happy when neighbors introduced her to possible partners. I liked my step-dad very much when I met him, he is very good to me and he is also very handsome."
 
Four years ago, VOA met Ma Tang’s step-father Yao Yunbing.  At the time, Yao was still struggling to cope with the loss of his wife and 17-year-old daughter. Both died during the quake.
 
Yao’s daughter was one of the thousands of students who died when their schools collapsed on them.
 
In late 2009, Yao and Ma Tang’s mother married.

“At first everything was very normal and simple. At times we would argue. He said that if we didn't have a child we should split up. He had been through a lot and he often got angry and cried. When I saw him cry I would cry as well, but then after the baby was born he was more at peace,” quake survivor Tang Dongmei recalled.
 
The massive loss of life from the quake was partly due to shoddy construction - particularly government-built schools. As the death toll rose, so did the public backlash against authorities.
 
Now, many here have taken out bank loans to supplement the reconstruction funds they received from the government, to ensure homes are stronger and safer.
 
But analysts said more needs to be done.
 
“I think that awareness of anti-seismic construction and disaster prevention is now what is most lacking," said Long Enshen, who is with Sichuan University’s Institute of Disaster Management and Reconstruction. "And I believe that we need to strengthen every day action by the government and by non-government organizations to help with these matters.”
 
The Yao family’s home was rebuilt using steel and cement, but they are struggling to pay off their loan.
 
Yao works eight hours away and comes home once a week. Ma Tang’s mother would like to work too, but said opportunities are few as she never finished elementary school.
 
Keenly aware of his family’s challenges, Ma Tang said that when he wants to buy something he thinks first of his young step-sister.
 
He said he loves sports and wants to play soccer in high school. Ma Tang said he hopes some day he might even get a chance to play on the national team.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid